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with Kevin McLaughlin

Kevin MacLaughlin, poetry magazine, haiku

Haiku frequently celebrate our AHA! Moments, those times when our vision has a special clarity, when we feel an effortless oneness with nature, with the Universe.  This quote from Manuel Cordova Rios, cited in Stephen Harrod Buhner’s text, “Plant Intelligence, and the Imaginal Realm” presents this state of mind in a delightful prose-poem:

 “As my glance wandered in the tree tops I became aware of undreamed beauty in the details of the textures of leaves, stems, and branches.  Every leaf, as my attention settled on it, seemed to glow with a greenish golden light.  Unimaginable detail of structure showed.  A nearby birdsong…floated down.  Exquisite and shimmering, the song was almost invisible.  Time seemed suspended; there was only now and now was infinite.   I could separate the individual notes of the bird song and savor each in its turn. ..I floated in a sensation that seemed somewhere between smelling an intoxicating fragrance and tasting a delicate ambrosia.”


Pure ecstasy.  Time was suspended.  Mr. Rios could have written ten thousand haiku in those few moments alone.  May all of you experience this spirit, commemorate it in a haiku, and contribute the verse to BTS!


Fire Coral



Ocean swells lift and drop a small boat anchored off Hutchinson Island.  The effect of the sea bottom, seen through the clear ocean water is hypnotic.  Reefs, fire coral, and shoals of fish seem to increase and decrease in size, all the while elongating and contracting.


Swells in the shallows:

Viewed through refracting light waves,

Coral changing shape.


Sean Yeats asked Master Rigdzin, Abbot the Red Mangrove Sangha in West Palm Beach, “What are the most auspicious times during the day to meditate?”

“You’re meditating right now, “ replied the Lama.  “You mediate all day long.  Formal, seated meditation is very beautiful, but its results can be protean and misleading.  It is like the vision of fire coral shape shifting on the ocean’s vast floor.”

-Kevin McLaughlin


Through the ice ages,

Florida rose from the sea:

Limestone and fossils.


Blight has killed the trees,

Only four pines are standing:

A woodpecker taps.

-Kevin McLaughlin


Vera Ignatowitsch’s haiku are as graceful as a swan landing gently in a calm pond.  And the swan manages this ballet move while adhering to the 5-7-5 format.  Bhikku Boddhi has written that,” the way to enlightenment starts with mindfulness.  Mindfulness clears the ground for insight into the nature of things.”  Ms. Ignatowitsch uses mindfulness and her love of words to give us pure images of the thing-in-itself.


Sewn seed pod quivers

Patiently as breezes warm

Enough to promise.


Fallen hot dog crumbs

Vanish in a blink; so swift

Are the hungriest.


(In Florida, it is usually crows that scoop

up those fallen crumbs.)


Long icicles melt

Gradually; gravity

Pulls us to earth.


(A haiku for Newton and Einstein.)

-Vera Ignatowitsch   

I encourage all readers of this column to read and enjoy this month’s interview with Mr. Adjei Agyei-Baah, the creator of Afriku.  Take this opportunity to know him as a scholar, a poet, and a human being. -K.McL

Toni Pyon enjoys making annual trips from her warm California residence to Big Bear Mountain for snowboarding. Clearly, she has a wonderful relationship with nature.  She is also very fond of spending time with her family.


The sun is rising,

But many are still asleep,

Morning is now arising.


The world is awake,

Now energized and ready,

For what today holds.


The excitement gone,

The day is dwindling down,

It’s time to go home.


Sunlight to moonlight,

Signals it’s time to sleep and

Restart the cycle.


(A day in the life!)

-Toni Pyon



Christina Cruz writes she hates smiling and prefers staring blankly at people with her heterochromatic eyes: I believe she has at least a bit of Zen in her spiritual DNA.  Previously, she has been published in Vox Poetica.

Milky swirls in brown

fur. My daily pick me up

is Cappuccino.


The smell of lemon

scented windex fills my home

as my mom cleans it.


As I place the conch

shell to my ear the ocean's

breeze whispers to me

-Christina Cruz



Josephine Overbeck is a first time contributor who works in the senryu genre of haiku.  The second poem reminded me of every single time I grapple with the seat belt in my F-150.  Please, Ms. Overbeck, continue to send us “real time” images.

It’s the time of the year,

Where a man all dressed in red,

Breaks into my house.


I hate it when I

Reach for the seat belt and feel,

Like a branded cow.

-Josephine Overbeck



Andrew Brown is a free-lance writer based in Richmond, Virginia.  He lives on-line at His haiku give us an unvarnished view of nature and the supramundane world that lies behind the everyday world.  His “Like weathered boulders” and soil receiving fresh rain are serene reflections on ancient processes.


Stars are to restive

Imaginations a cup,

Crown, scales, vulture, harp ...


Snowballs bash against

Brick walls, vibrations knocking

Loose frost from windows.


Like weathered boulders

We discover new edges

When the wet ground shifts.


To receive fresh rain

Is nothing new to soil,

Yet it’s still nervous.


Lightning rips a gap

In the thundering sky while

Trees stand defiant.

(This flash of lightning in the thundering sky celebrates the “consciousness of trees” and

their ancient majesty.)


'No Loitering Here.’

Try telling the cat, stalking

The injured squirrel.

-Andrew Brown

Yet once more I encourage all haiku writers to share their work, their insights into the nature of all things, with fellow poets and BTS readers.  

For those interested in haiku, I recommend you cast back into the BTS archives and reference the September 2016 column.  It provides a pretty thorough explanation of the basic format.


--  Kevin Mclaughlin

Frequent contributor Joseph Davidson’s work embodies the spirit described by Manuel Cordova Rios.  He has an immediate , uncontaminated grasp of reality that often transcends intellectualization.  Mr. Davidson captures “the thing-in-itself.” This is the full development of being Awake. 

Creak of bones and stairs,

Climbing higher in tower,

Encircled in light

(The Florida coastline is dotted with lighthouses, and each one has a unique history.)


Diving in moonlight,

Floating amid pools of stardust,

Ripples in a dream.


White and yellow blooms,

Poised atop tender thin stems

Over Winter’s lawn.

-Joseph Davidson

Angie Davidson is an astrophysics enthusiast who also happens to be an active member of Tibetan Buddhism’s Palm Beach Dharma center.  These wonderful pieces  are the synergy of science and Buddhism.


Tear drop shaped space,

Pulling one to another:

Giant red star looms.


Exoplanet found,

Orphaned, baby, gas giant,

From new formed system.


A lot of something,

That looks like nothing is dark-

Matter ignorance.


Measuring is proof,

That validates to science,

Instead of seeing.

(I believe many quantum physicists

would agree.)


-Angela Davidson

Jen Smith shows a playful appreciation of nature’s critters this month.  At the same time, she clears away something that stands between us, the alligator, and the squirrel.


Laying silently,

Watching you walk briskly past,

Reptiles in the sun.

(The referenced reptile was nothing other, I suspect, than an 8’ long alligator soaking up the sun’s rays after a cold spell.)


High in the tree tops,

I’m more than a tree rat,

Searching for acorns.

(I concur with Ms. Smith’s appreciation of squirrels.  It is a total joy to watch their acrobatics in the trees after the sun rises.)


-Jen Smith  

Denise Corrigan, an architect from Hicksville, New York, has been reading haiku ever since sophomore year of college.  After reading this column the past few months, she decided to write and contribute a few poems.  Ms. Corrigan obviously uses a wide frame-of-reference that encompasses living and dying.  Note she adheres to the 5-7-5 format.


Male blows bubble nest:

Two Siamese fighting fish,

Preparing to mate.


“Don’t pick that flower!”

I call from a  long distance,

My cry was too late.


Tent still in place,

Over the freshly dug grave:

Mourners departed.

-Denise Corrigan


Arnie Runcie is a robotics mechanical engineer from Seattle, Washington.  Mr. Runcie enjoys his leisure hours reading mysteries and John LeCarre style spy novels…and by writing an occasional haiku.


Friends of forty years,

Departing with a handshake…

And then an embrace.


The frozen pond:

Leaves and branches embedded

In the icy sheet.

-Arnie Runcie

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